Portugal are looking to win their second major international trophy in three years. The Navigators rode a fortunate draw to the 2016 European Championship for their first international title, and now they will be facing an old foe in their bid to win the inaugural UEFA Nations League. Portugal and the Netherlands met 13 years ago in what became known as the Battle of Nuremberg. It was the dirtiest game in FIFA history, with four red cards and 16 yellow cards administered over the course of the match.
Don’t miss the UEFA Nations League Final from the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal at 2:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 9, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on ESPN and Univision.
UEFA Nations League Final Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
The Netherlands have been awfully impressive since missing out on the 2018 World Cup. The Flying Dutchmen are back to playing the daring, innovative style that had been their hallmark throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and that has them on the cusp of winning the UEFA Nations League. This team bested France and Germany to be one of the final four teams in this competition, and they knocked off England 3-1 on Thursday night in the second semifinal. The Netherlands forced mistake after mistake out of the Three Lions’ back line, and England finally collapsed in extra time.
Some Cristiano Ronaldo magic sent Portugal to the UEFA Nations League Final. Ronaldo registered his 53rd career hat trick in a 3-1 victory for Portugal over Switzerland, but that score is not indicative of how the match went. The Swiss consistently had numerous great chances thanks to some great play from their midfielders, yet they were unable to finish and that doomed them. If Switzerland had a quality striker on the roster, the Swiss would be in the final instead of the Portuguese, so the hosts must play better against a team that can punish them.
Matchup to Watch
Portugal’s back line was consistently carved up on Wednesday, and the Dutch have to be licking their chops. The Netherlands have more creative midfielders than the Swiss, and talents like Georginio Wijnaldum and Frenkie de Jong are sure to create a number of opportunities.
To make matters worse, Portugal will be without their most experienced player in the back for the final. Pepe fractured his shoulder blade in the win over Switzerland, and none of the remaining Portuguese defenders have more than 37 caps. Talented young players like Nelson Semedo and Joao Cancelo will have to step up or else Portugal will be run through.
Prop Bet – Netherlands First Goal +112
It may take some time for Portugal’s back line to find their feet. The Netherlands are going to consistently push the pace, especially early, and I don’t think it will take long for the hosts to crack. The Oranje can be deadly on set pieces, especially corners, and defending those will be a major problem for Portugal. Matthijs de Ligt will get free and create trouble.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
If this game were at a neutral site, I believe the Netherlands would be favored. They have looked like the better team over the past 12 months, but they will be playing in a hostile environment in Porto.
Regardless, I think they will get the job done here, and I love the value in the Dutch. Although Cristiano Ronaldo is always going to be a threat, the Netherlands back line is talented enough to slow him down. The combination of Virgil van Dijk and de Ligt is an envious one, and Ronaldo won’t do enough to overcome Portugal’s woes in the back.
UEFA Nations League Final Prediction: Netherlands 2, Portugal 1
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